Tag Archives: World Food Program USA

Hillary Clinton an award winner for fighting hunger

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WFP director Ertharin Cousin joins Taylor Swift on Forbes list

The director of the UN World Food Programme, Ertharin Cousin, joins Taylor Swift on the Forbes annual list of the 100 Most Powerful Women. Cousin came in at #47, followed closely by the music star Swift at #64.

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Forget me Knots and feeding the hungry

Last month I wrote a story at the Huffington Post about BeCause Jewelry, which donates to world hunger relief. One of the items they sell is a necklace called a Forget-me-Knot.

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Jewelry for the cause of ending world hunger

Sarah Manthey loves making jewelry. This has been her inspired hobby for almost a decade.

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House, Senate agreeing on emergency hunger relief bill

Recognizing the growing humanitarian emergencies around the world, members of the House and Senate are proposing increased funding for the International Disaster Assistance Program (IDA). Drafts of spending bills that boost IDA funding have been approved in both chambers.

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Dole Reminds Us How Dems-Reps Can Work Together Against Hunger

biden_dole_3_0Former Senator Bob Dole received the George McGovern Leadership Award this week for his efforts to fight world hunger. Vice President Biden presented him the award at a ceremony hosted by the World Food Program U.S.A. in Washington, D.C.

Dole reminds us how Democrats and Republicans can actually work together, something they hardly ever do now. Dole formed a great partnership with former Senator George McGovern and the result was policies and programs that fed millions of children.

Biden said of Dole: “I think he exposed, for the first time, the long-term consequences of children not having the right nutrition.”

Dole served with the U.S. military in World War II in Italy. Incidentally, this was one of the countries that benefited from millions of school meals from the United States, both during and after the war.

U.S. Army and relief officials discussed plans on how distributing food at Italian schools would fight hunger and boost class attendance at the same time.

The Greatest Generation understood how important food and nutrition was not just for the U.S. but for overseas. They understood its importance for peace. McGovern and Dole were two of the leaders that emerged from this generation. A global school lunch program is named after them. The duo won the World Food Prize in 2008 for their teamwork against hunger.

The McGovern-Dole Food for Education program is currently feeding children in conflict-torn Mali, Haiti, Ethiopia, Kenya and other countries. The program funds the UN World Food Programme (WFP), Catholic Relief Services, Save the Children and other aid agencies who distribute the meals. McGovern-Dole is also part of the Farm Bill, a legislation where Democrats and Republicans are not seeing eye to eye.

No agreement is likely this year on the Farm Bill, which decides funding for nutrition programs both here and overseas. It’s a critical piece of legislation in the fight against hunger. The U.S. Food for Peace program is part of the Farm Bill. Food for Peace is the largest supporter of WFP, which feeds the hungry in over seventy countries.

This impasse in D.C. is the last thing we need with hunger escalating at home. Overseas, wars and disasters in Syria, the Philippines, the Central African Republic, Sudan, South Sudan and many other countries is creating hunger emergencies. Aid groups are unable to keep up.

If the U.S. Congress does not pass legislation supporting international food aid, then hunger and chaos will worsen overseas.

As Congress works on the Farm Bill they need to capture the approach of Dole and his generation. They need to take action against hunger and do so in a bipartisan approach. Congress should support domestic and international food aid on the Farm Bill.

Dole said when receiving his award: ” It should be our aspiration to aim higher and to strive harder to make the world a better place for millions of hungry children around the world.”

originally published at the Huffington Post

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Let’s Get the Map Out to End Global Hunger

Rep. Sam Farr of California: “Hunger is a threat to our national and fiscal security. Our national leaders understand that we cannot have a stable world with out addressing the root causes of poverty and hunger.”
Credits: World Food Program USA photo

Humanitarian groups are calling on the United States to fully adopt the Roadmap to End Global Hunger, a series of strategic steps to rescue the nearly one billion suffering people who cannot access basic food.

The Roadmap, first introduced in 2009, calls for the US to increase its funding for hunger relief programs. While this might seem a challenge in the current cash-strapped environment, the Roadmap notes that jumping to $5 billion a year on global hunger relief “is just over one tenth of one percent of the US budget, yet would support increased food security for hundreds of millions of people worldwide.”

Currently, US hunger-fighting programs like Food for Peace and the McGovern-Dole school lunch program do not even add up to $2 billion in funding a year. To further compare, the annual cost of the U.S. nuclear weapons program is estimated to be $52 billion.

Bill O’Keefe, the vice president for advocacy at Catholic Relief Services, says, “This Roadmap makes clear that we as a country have to do more if we are going to end global hunger. In the current Congress, we have fought hard just to maintain current spending levels and still face the possibility of significant cuts. The Roadmap shows that spending to end hunger is a good investment that is supported by a majority of the American people. Hunger around the world can be significantly reduced if we follow these recommendations.”

An increase in funding would give U.S. food assistance programs far more reach. Add the increase in funding to more local purchasing of food in developing countries and the budget can stretch even further. Food purchased in developing countries generally provides a savings compared with shipping the food from the United States.

The key provision of the Roadmap, though, lies in leadership. That has to start at the top, with the appointment of a Global Food Security Coordinator. The Roadmap states, “The US should ensure coordination and integration of food security programs by appointing a Global Food Security Coordinator responsible for overseeing development and implementation of the government-wide global food security strategy, with corresponding budget authority over all global food security programs.”

There has to be someone in charge, and someone visible in charge. Global hunger is escalating and drought has sent countries into famine or near-famine levels numerous times the last few years. Conflicts in Sudan, Syria, and other areas have also increased the ranks of the hungry.

Not only does the government have to be fully mobilized to fight global hunger; so too does the public. We can effectively do this if we have a “food ambassador” in view every day leading the way. Congress and the President need to take action on this provision of the Roadmap right away.

“If you want to end global hunger, follow this Roadmap,” said Congressman James McGovern of Massachusetts. “We can ensure no child wakes up [and] goes to school or goes to bed hungry. This report tells us how to do it. I want to drive down this road to end hunger.”

Article first published as Let’s Get the Map Out to End Global Hunger on Blogcritics.

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Cutting Food Aid Programs Dangerous to National Security

There is much debate in Congress on how much to cut military spending. But there is another vital area of our foreign policy at risk of budget cuts too: international food aid.

Fighting hunger is not often included in talks about national security. But it should be. Remember the famous World War II slogan, “Food will win the war and write the peace.” George Marshall said, “Hunger and insecurity are the worst enemies of peace.” Food formed the foundation of the famous Marshall Plan that spurred Europe’s recovery after the war.

While some members of Congress may think it prudent now to cut food aid programs to save a few dollars, think again. On the contrary, by investing now in nutrition and agriculture development, future humanitarian disasters can be averted, thereby reducing foreign assistance in the future. Nutrition for a generation of children means better educated societies, more stable societies and the chance for economic growth.

Investing in farmers allows them to build up the capacity to better resist drought. This is what can prevent famines from taking hold.

Reducing food aid will cost lives, increase the spread of disease, and weaken societies who are fighting poverty. Congress simply cannot cut food aid, in view of the famine striking East Africa, drought leveling Afghanistan, and malnutrition on the attack in Yemen. We have to remember that Haiti and other countries need food to remain on the road to recovery.

International food aid currently accounts for less than one tenth of one percent of the federal budget. So in essence, you are looking at an already relatively low-funded program that is being selected for potential cuts. You could actually increase the funding for these programs past current levels and put very little strain on the budget.

International food aid programs include the Food for Peace initiative started by President Dwight Eisenhower and the McGovern-Dole program which provides school meals. These programs got their start by members of the Greatest Generation who understood that food forms the basis of all reconstruction, peace and progress.

This is a lesson Congress should not forget as it forges the budget and how to spend on an essential aspect of our national security: fighting global hunger.

Learn more about the potential budget cuts at the World Food Program USA.

Article first published as Cutting Food Aid Programs Dangerous to National Security on Blogcritics.

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